On the Hill from Doug Christian
The arrest of the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, inspires different narratives on the hill, depending on whom you listen to.
The Senate Intelligence Chairman, Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Republican from North Carolina, issues a statement saying:
“Under the guise of transparency, Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have effectively acted as an arm of the Russian intelligence services for years. Mr. Assange engaged in a conspiracy to steal classified information, putting millions of lives at risk all over the world. Hopefully, he will now face justice.”
On the other hand, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic representative from Hawaii, provides a counter-narrative warning of fallout to journalists with a tweet:
The arrest of #JulianAssange is meant to send a message to all Americans and journalists: be quiet, behave, toe the line. Or you will pay the price.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) April 11, 2019
And from the White House, President Donald Trump, who repeatedly pledged his “love” of Wikileaks during the 2016 presidential campaign, denies his knowledge of Assange:
(Audio: “I know nothing about Wikileaks. It’s not my thing… I know nothing about him [Assange], it’s not my deal in life.”)
(Photo of first page of indictment)
Along with Assange’s arrest in London comes an indictment from the United States. The indictment, filed under seal on March 6, 2018, in the Eastern District Court in Virginia, was released within an hour of Assange’s arrest. The indictment alleges that Assange worked with Chelsea Manning to steal classified documents from the United States Department of Defense.
In other news, House Democrats are gathered in Leesburg, Virginia for their annual retreat until this afternoon. The Senate and the House from both parties will be on recess, mostly back in their home districts, through the 26th of April.
Doug Christian, Capitol Hill